Cleft, The: By Dick Wegmans, 222 pgs., $7 By Steve Hart

When I received my package of things to review from Razorcake, I was excited to pull out a book. So-called “alternative” fiction isn’t the easiest thing to find on Maui, seeing how all of our independent book stores have closed down. This is also the first time I’ve ever read a book about an asscrack that features prominently in low-waisted pants and skirts that are popular nowadays. According to the protagonist, the asscrack, or cleft, is the holy grail and we follow him into the dirty underbelly of whorehouses in Mexico while he pursues his sexual proclivities (any more than that and I’d give away the plot).

The Cleft is well written, and moves quickly. However, while reading, I usually try to find a character who is compelling in some way, a character who I could relate to, but most of the characters are repulsive. I found it difficult to hope that they would get out of the predicaments that they found themselves in. In fact, I hoped that a few characters would just die and go away. I also didn’t think it was necessary to drop random n-bombs in the dialogue. It certainly didn’t heighten the quality of the dialogue. Instead, they just jumped off the page and distracted me from the story.  Despite this, The Cleft is a daring book—even disgusting at times—but it’s also very difficult to put down. The book itself is also handmade. (Mulnix, PO Box 29753, LA, CA, 90027, wospress[at]gmail.com)